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Course Requirements

The program leading to the Master of Arts in TESOL consists of 12 courses, including both required and elective options, totaling 36 units.

M.A. in TESOL (on campus) Requirements36 units
Required Courses30 units
TESL 505
Second-language Acquisition
TESL 515
Teaching English Grammar
TESL 525
Teaching English Pronunciation
TESL 545
Second-language Pedagogy I*
TESL 550
Second-language Pedagogy II
TESL 557
Reflective Teaching*
TESL 560
Language Program Design
TESL 570
Second-language Assessment
Select one of the following:
TESL 530
Intercultural Communication and Language Teaching
TESL 535
Sociolinguistics and Language Teaching
Select one of the following:
TESL 580
TESOL Portfolio
TESL 589
Research Methods in TESOL
Required Courses6 units
Students select two courses from a variety of electives. Options include:
TESL 509
Special Topics in TESOL
TESL 537
Critical Perspectives on Christianity and English Language Teaching
TESL 548
Teaching EFL with Children
TESL 590
Thesis Preparation
TESL 599
Readings in TESOL

*Required course for the Certificate in TEFL


1. Language Proficiency

  1. For the M.A., prior to graduation, native speakers of English must verify completion within the last 10 years of a minimum of 6 semester units of college-level foreign language with at least a 3.0 grade-point average on a 4.0 scale, or its equivalent. Options to satisfy the foreign language requirement include formal coursework and community language learning. Students may also establish proficiency via an exam.
  2. All students graduating from non-English speaking institutions must satisfy university English Proficiency Requirements. In addition, the following scores on the Internet-based TOEFL are required for admission to the online or field-based TESOL programs.
Reading: 25
Speaking: 25
Writing: 25
Listening: 25

2. Professional Development

Students are required to provide evidence of attendance at a national, state, or regional conference related to language teaching prior to completion of the M.A.

Thesis or Portfolio

To complete the program, students choose either to create a professional portfolio or to write a thesis. Students who decide on the portfolio must enroll in TESL 580 and develop a portfolio that demonstrates competence in each of the 15 TESOL program learning outcomes. Students who elect to write a thesis must enroll in TESL 589 or a comparable course in research methods. Most students who elect to write a thesis will also enroll in TESL 590 as their second elective. After completing the thesis, students must provide an oral defense.

Time Requirements

Students may begin TESOL studies in either Fall I (September) or Spring I (February).

The program is offered in a four-session format: Fall I, Fall II, Spring I, and Spring II. Full-time students typically enroll in two courses per session and can complete the entire program in approximately six sessions (one-and-a-half years). Part-time students taking one course each term can complete the program in about three years.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the degree requirements? Will I have to write a thesis?
Degree candidates have a choice between writing a thesis and taking comprehensive examinations. Other requirements include 36 units of course work, of which 30 units are required courses and 6 units are electives. In addition, students must initiate ongoing professional development by attending at least one professional conference and joining a professional organization such as TESOL, Inc.

How many units do most students take per semester?
Each semester is divided into two nine-week terms. A full load is two three-unit courses per term. Students who are also working full time, however, often prefer to take just one course at a time.

How long do students take to complete the degree?
Students who take a full load can complete the program in 18 months, though most take an extra semester to prepare for the comprehensive exams and complete the degree in 22 months. Students who take just one course per term complete the program in about three years.

Does finishing in 18 months require taking summer classes? If not, are summer courses still available?
The 18-month period assumes no summer courses. None of the required courses are offered in the summer, but elective options are available for those who want to take summer classes. Taking a summer course, however, will not shorten the time to earn the degree.

Is it feasible to begin the program in the spring semester?
Yes, you can begin the program either semester and still expect to complete the program within 18 months.

When are classes taught? Are there a variety of class schedules available?
All classes are taught 4:45-9:15 p.m., Monday-Thursday, to accommodate students who work during the day. Each class meets one evening per week for nine weeks.

How large are the classes in the campus-based TESOL program?
Class size varies anywhere between 6-25 students. Most classes have at least 8, but no more than 20 students.

Note: This information is current for the 2013-14 academic year; however, all stated academic information is subject to change. Please refer to the current Academic Catalog for more information.